Grand Canyon’s conference<br>expands to nine teams

GCNP — Athletic directors from around the state have been busy over the past few weeks ironing out new alignments for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.

Grand Canyon High School athletic director Steve Boynton said considering what could have happened, he’s happy with the way things turned out for the Phantoms.

“I’m very happy with the new alignment,” Boynton said last week. “Some talked about creating a league based on football, which would’ve removed us from our current league and put us in with ... Phoenix schools.”

Overall, Class 1A membership is up to about 45 schools, Boynton said, an increase of about 16 schools.

All of the current schools in the 1A North remain in the league, along with a couple of additions. The entire league will now consist of Grand Canyon, Seligman, Joseph City, St. Michael, Music Mountain, Fredonia, Shonto Prep, Northland Prep and Ash Fork. Shonto Prep and Northland Prep, a private school in Flagstaff, become full members while Music Mountain will only be an associate member.

“It does give us a limited preseason schedule,” Boynton said about the league, referring to basketball. “With eight teams in the league (Music Mountain games not counted in league standings), we’ll have 16 league games. That leaves us four non-league games.”

Grand Canyon began basketball practice on Monday. The Phantoms will open the season in early December in the Orange and Black Classic at Williams.

There are three schools with enrollment figures lower than Grand Canyon (84) — Seligman (55), Music Mountain (60) and Ash Fork (70). Northland Prep’s enrollment figures were not available.

The largest school in the league will be St. Michael with 177 students. Joseph City checks in at 142, Fredonia at 120 and Shonto Prep at 120.

As for soccer, Grand Canyon and Ash Fork will be by far the smallest schools in the 1A-3A Mountain Region. The Phantoms and Spartans will be the only 1A schools with the rest now all up in 3A.

Show Low (789 students) was added to the soccer league. Other members are Chino Valley (712), Camp Verde (480), Pinon (446) and Sedona Red Rock (443). The Eagles and Scorpions are currently in 2A.

Payson, a former member of Grand Canyon’s conference, is the largest school playing in the fall soccer season with 933 students.

The region alignments are good for two years.

The Phantoms currently compete in coed soccer, volleyball, boys basketball, girls basketball, softball, baseball and track and field.

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